Kitchen Design

5 Little Things That'll Help Make the Most of Even the Tiniest Kitchens

Space is no object.

May 31, 2019
Photo by Bobbi Lin

Like most New Yorkers, I'm somewhat lacking in kitchen space. Which is to say, my kitchen is also my dining room, which is also my living room, and I share it with two other people. So I've grown accustomed to making the absolute most of my space, using a little ingenuity to cram just as much into it as I possibly can. And, in many cases, that's no easy feat, especially when it comes to necessities. Presented below: five basic tiny kitchen strategies you can employ with a little help from our Shop.

Stack 'Em Up!

With limited kitchen and counter space, I've become very practiced in figuring out which kitchen items can fit neatly in other, larger ones. That's why I love nesting bowls, those little kitchen teams that give you a lot to work with, but tuck themselves neatly away in a small space. These ones are great for storing and microwaving, meaning a whole lot fewer things you need to have stashed away in the first place.

Similar to my collection of mismatched storage containers is my collection of extremely cumbersome mismatched pots and pans. Which is why this 11-piece set is a lifesaver. With everything from a 6-quart stockpot (with a straining lid!) to a 12-inch nonstick pan, this tidy bundle is neatly contained and has nearly everything I need to fry, grill, steam, and boil—and it's oven-safe to boot.

Do Double Duty

It's always good to have more than one talent—especially when you're a kitchen item taking up valuable counter space. That's why this dish rack is such a delight: Its basin is removable, letting you essentially double your washing-up room.

Go High

One thing to remember in making the most of your kitchen (or any room) is that you're working with three dimensions. Hanging stuff on the wall or from the ceiling lets it double as decor—why shouldn't your decor earn its keep, after all?—and saves you precious countertop space. One colorful solution is hanging your favorite fruits (or onions or garlic) in an attractive bowl or basket. It's rustic, and hey, it looks darn nice.

Get a move on

Of course, there's a lotta stuff you can use in any room in your house—meaning, in other words, you can use them in the kitchen when you need them there, then banish 'em back from whence they came. This potato basket can double as a container for virtually anything—towels! toilet paper!—when it's not working in the culinary realm.

Check out more space solutions here—and happy tiny-kitchening!

Do you have a small-ish kitchen? How do you make the most of it?

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Adrienne Boswell
    Adrienne Boswell
  • Earlene Millier
    Earlene Millier
  • Jaye Bee
    Jaye Bee
  • Jerech0
  • bellw67
Gerard Coletta

Written by: Gerard Coletta


Adrienne B. August 20, 2019
I have a vintage file cabinet that used to be part of our city library in my dining room. It holds the bags of dog and cat food in the top drawer, a waffle maker, garbage bags, dish towels and clips in the second drawer, and the bottom drawer I use to store baking supplies, flours, sugars, nuts, and chocolate. On top of the file cabinet is an open crate with coffee supplies and the toaster, and the top of the crate has canisters with rice, bread crumbs, Muesli, etc. It sits right next to the dining table, so toast is easy to get to.
Earlene M. August 14, 2019
The best small kitchen strategy? Buy very carefully, and purge constantly. I get paper grocery bags (the kind with handles), and I keep one open in a corner to put seldom-used items into as I come across them while working in the kitchen. When full, it goes to the thrift store. And NO single-use items! Garlic crusher? Nope. A knife does the job.
Jaye B. April 4, 2018
I don't get the dish drainer. If you use the basin,, you'd have to wash all the dishes and leave them in the sink while you transfer the basin to the counter to sit under the rack. Then rinse the dishes and place them in the rack. Otherwise the rinsed dishes will drain all over the counter. Why not use the sink for washing/rinsing to begin with?
Jerech0 April 2, 2018
I like the onion and garlic baskets but their little papery pieces would litter below. The dish drainer is good for washing up your dining ware but no room for the cooking ware. Nesting bowls could double as prep bowls and mixing bowls as well as storage which is great in my tiny kitchen.
Jaye B. April 4, 2018
I agree those onion baskets would not contain the litter. I keep onions in a colander with very tiny holes and there are always pieces of onion and shallot skins on the bottom. Makes a nice rustic photo, though. :)
bellw67 March 31, 2018
I like the dish drainer but it probably wouldn’t hold all my washed dishes, I’d have to dry as I go. I don’t have any walls for hanging, just cupboards, but I would like the hanging garlic and onion baskets if I did.